By Tom Quiner
Here’s what Congressman Steve King said:
“For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Advocates of open borders and amnesty tout the high character and the contribution undocumented immigrants bring to our communities.
They are right to do so. Our country has surely benefited on many fronts from so many fine people living among us.
Advocates of border security and rule of law tend to focus on the quantity of criminal activity flowing into America across our porous border.
This was Mr. King’s approach.
Unfortunately, his broad brush strokes unfairly stereotyped an entire group of people. He has understandably taken heat from both sides of the political spectrum.
A few thoughts.
Stereotyping an ethnic group is hurtful. Mr. King demonstrated undue insensitivity in his remarks.
However, he addresses a legitimate problem. The same people piling on Mr. King look the other way when one of their own sticks their foot in their mouth.
My friend, Patti Brown, presents a unique perspective:
“Rep. King is not an ignorant man. He is blunt and can be inartful, but he is not ignorant.
I spent some time doing interviews with the U.S Border Patrol in the Tucson sector office and with the Arizona minutemen while on overnight patrol along the US-Mexican border.
I have watched as streams of undocumented people cross into the U.S. along the Tucson sector, and as it takes an hour or more for the one border patrol agent (one single agent is assigned to a 50-mile stretch of border) to get to the scene of an apprehension and deal with a group of 15 people walking with drug backpacks.
This is one way people pay the coyotes for shepherding them through the border dessert for four-days. The backpacks are packed with just under the prosecution limit, meaning that the federal prosecutors are so overwhelmed with drug and weapons trafficking that unless there are more than 150 pounds of pot in the backpack, the person isn’t prosecuted.
There is a lack of money and personnel to prosecute those folks carrying smaller loads. Instead they are returned to Mexico for another day. I had press credentials for my interviews at the Tucson sector headquarters and with the Arizona Minutemen and this was part of a masters of science in journalism and political science at Iowa State in 2009. It was a very interesting opportunity to see this up close and have the access I did. People just do not understand the magnitude of the illegal border crossings. We supposedly apprehend about 40% of those who come here with out authorization.”
Patti points out that Steve King is correct. We have significant drug trafficking at our Mexican border.
All of that is swept aside when a conservative is politically incorrect. The cause of border security has suffered a setback.